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Liberty Lake police: Wheels removed, then stacked neatly

Thu., Sept. 13, 2012

A thief apparently had a change of heart after going to a car dealership in the 21500 block of East George Gee Avenue and jacking up a Chevy Suburban to steal its tires. The car was put up on blocks – apparently brought by the thief – and the wheels were removed, said Liberty Lake Police Chief Brian Asmus.

But the tires and wheels were stacked neatly nearby and a message was left written in the dust on the back window of the Suburban. “Don’t need now, change of heart,” the message said.

In addition to being prepared, the thief was tidy. “Each set of lug nuts were left right by the wheels,” Asmus said.

There was another addition to the category of “crime doesn’t pay” when officers recognize your vehicle and know where you live. A report was called in at 10:45 a.m. Saturday that a dark-colored, jacked-up pickup truck with a Confederate flag hanging from the back had damaged a little-used gate on Henry Road leading into the Legacy Ridge housing development.

The officer knew immediately who owned the truck, Asmus said. “That was beautiful,” he said. “The officer knew right where it was parked.”

The officer drove to the home of the owner, who is a juvenile. He initially denied causing the damage but eventually admitted it, Asmus said. A representative of the property owner met with the juvenile and they reached an agreement to have the juvenile pay restitution, Asmus said. No charges were filed.

The gate had been locked with a chain and padlock. “They tore the whole gate down,” Asmus said.

Liberty Lake officers responded to four calls at an apartment complex in the 22800 block of East Country Vista Drive on Sept. 4. The calls included a distraught teenager and a domestic violence incident. Officers found the suspect in the parking lot and arrested a 32-year-old Liberty Lake man for domestic violence assault. A resident also reported that several items were stolen from her unlocked car while it was in the parking lot.

Late that night there was a report of a car hitting a pedestrian in the parking lot of the apartment complex. Investigators determined that the pedestrian, who was intoxicated, stepped in front of the car. The man had only scrapes and bruises from the impact, but he was taken to the hospital for treatment after a breath test indicated his blood-alcohol level was 0.34. “That’s very high,” Asmus said. “He was really drunk.”

There were five arrests for driving with a suspended license from Sept. 3-10, one for driving under the influence and one on a warrant.

Officers responded to the 1700 block of North Madson Road just before 6 p.m. on Sept. 6 after receiving reports that two employees appeared to be under the influence after returning from break. One was high on marijuana and the other likely took some sort of depressant, Asmus said. “It was probably some type of prescription pills,” he said. The two were taken home by family members.

Two vending machines outside Safeway were broken into recently and the owner of the machines told police that vending machines he owns on the South Hill were also recently broken into. Police believe the two incidents are connected because of the method used to break into the machines, Asmus said. Police are reviewing surveillance footage of the South Hill incident that show four people involved in the break-in. The case is under investigation.

Officers handed out two citations for failure to show proof of liability insurance, six for speeding and two for failure to wear a safety belt. Additional citations were given for license and plates required, failure to stop at a stop sign and use of a cellphone.

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